I wonder how many people will add ‘getting braces’ to their list of things to achieve in 2016?  I suspect quite a few given the growing demand for adult orthodontics in the UK over recent years.  But how many of these people will actually fulfil their wish and start orthodontic treatment and what will help to encourage them to begin their journey to get a great smile?

I remember first thinking about getting my teeth straightened many years ago and at that time, really struggled to find my way through the maze of confusion with every avenue seemingly blocked by the process involved.  My research began with a thumb through the Yellow Pages (the internet was still in it’s infancy) and from there, found the telephone numbers of a selection of orthodontists.  Surprisingly, getting a consultation wasn’t particularly easy and took a lot more effort than I was expecting.

I persevered and eventually found a number of London based orthodontists who would see me.  My first (rather expensive) consultation was with someone who dismissed my desire for straight teeth with a statement that ‘it would not be worth the effort as unless I was a model like her next patient, would not gain any benefit from treatment’.  I left that consultation somewhat shocked and deflated.  The next couple of appointments were not much better for various reasons and it was becoming clear that my desire to have straight teeth was clearly not going to happen and I simply gave up rather than wasting any more money on pointless consultations.

Fast forward a few years and the contrast is staggering.  Walking through the door of an orthodontic practice you are made to feel welcome, valued and comfortable.  Staff are on hand to answer questions and explore options and appointments are readily available to look at what can be done.  My own recent experiences have been very positive and I’m clearly not alone as is evidenced by seeing so many more adults getting braces.

So back to the original question, ‘what will help to encourage people to begin their journey to get a great smile’?  From a patient point of view, seeing appealing, clear and up to date information via a great website is always a good start.  We can ‘shop’ at our leisure and sell the idea to ourselves that getting braces is realistic and achievable.  A word of caution here, it is very easy to get confused by the services of a great dentist offering orthodontics and the great services provided by an orthodontist.  I don’t think this is well understood and the appeal of quick fix solutions and glossy marketing can easily sway a patient towards an option that only appears to meet their needs.

Thereafter, a friendly welcoming practice, flexible opening hours and a really informative consultation will usually provide sufficient incentive to give the idea some serious merit.  Support from family and friends and options to make the process affordable often come next together with on-going support from the preferred practice whilst decisions are made as to which type of brace to get.

For those still considering getting braces, the overwhelming view of those who have gone before you is that their only regret was not starting sooner so if getting braces is on your 2016 resolutions, this is something you should seriously consider.

Wishing you all a great 2016.